Monday, February 28, 2011

Spinach Stuffed Manicotti

Spinach Stuffed Manicotti

I love manicotti and typically I see it without meat, but our family are big meat eaters, so I came up with this recipe and added hamburger to it.  Manicotti used to intimidate and frustrate me, till I learned a few tricks anyway.  So here is how dinner went for me.

I started off by browning 1 lb hamburger (actually I only did 3/4lb but didn't get to fill 2 of my noodles so changed the recipe to include a little more meat and ricotta for your benefit.) 

After the meat was browned and drained I added about 2 cups of fresh baby spinach, 1/3 jar pasta sauce,1/2 tsp Italian seasoning, 1 cup ricotta cheese, and 1 cup Italian blend shredded cheese to my skillet. 

I cooked this mix till the spinach was reduced and the cheese was melted.  Then I set it aside to cool so it is easier to handle while stuffing. 

While the meat and cheese mixture was cooling, I boiled the pasta making sure not to overcook it.  I cook mine for about 6 minutes so they are still a little firm.  I drained, then rinsed the pasta with cool water to stop them from cooking.

I placed the remaining sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 dish and started stuffing the shells.  Using a gallon sized ziploc bag with one of the bottom corners cut to pipe the mixture in the shells.  This method is a little messy and  I should of made sure to let my meat and cheese mix get cool enough but I was impatient and just held my ziploc bag with a towel to help with the heat.  You can also rip your noodles down one of the seams, spoon some the mixture in, and roll them up.  Place them in the pan seam down and no one will know the difference.  These two methods have helped keep my sanity with stuffing manicotti. This time I piped them because I had never tried it that way before.  If any started to split while I was piping, I just finished off the split and rolled them instead.

After all the noodles were stuffed and in the pan I topped with the remaining 1 cup of shredded cheese.  All that was left to do was bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

We had this with salad, fried zucchini, and Quick Bread Sticks

Printable Recipe:

Recipe without picture

Recipe with picture

Spinach Stuffed Manicotti
Serves 6-8

1 box Manicotti noodles
1 lb hamburger
2 cups fresh baby spinach
1 jar pasta sauce, divided
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 pkg Italian blend shredded cheese
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

Brown hamburger, drain and return to skillet.

Add about 2 cups fresh baby spinach, 1/3 jar pasta sauce 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning, ricotta, and 1/2 pkg of shredded cheese to skillet.  Heat until cheese is melted and spinach is reduced.

Set aside to cool.  Boil noodles for about 6 minutes make sure not to over cook or they will be difficult to stuff.

Pour remaining pasta sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 dish.

Put meat and cheese mixture in a gallon ziploc bag and cut a corner to pipe into the noodles.  You can spoon it in, its not as messy but the noodles tend to rip more for me with a spoon.  Also you could tear down a seam of the noodle spoon in the mix then roll and place in pan seam down .  No one will know you didn't "stuff" them, it can be our little secret.
After all noodles are stuffed and in pan top with remaining shredded cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

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